Mom Whose 5-Month-Old Died After She Placed Her on Airport Conveyor Belt Sues

Almost exactly one year ago, we were horrified to learn that a 5-month-old baby was killed after her mother placed her in a carseat on a stationary luggage conveyor belt at an airport in Spain and then couldn't remove her in time after the belt began moving. The belt reportedly threw her out of her seat, and she died after landing in a gap between two conveyor belts.

Mom Nathania Terry has launched a lawsuit against Vanderlande Industries, a Netherlands-based global luggage supplier for airports, for wrongful death, negligence, design defects, and failure to warn. She claims the belt turned on suddenly and without warning and that there was no way for her to turn it off -- and no way for her to save her baby's life.


Last September, Terry, who is American, was traveling from London to Spain and arrived at the airport with her two children -- one of whom was infant Vashti Terry. The mom says she placed Vashti on a conveyor belt that wasn't moving so that she could retrieve a stroller at the end of the belt.

But the next thing Terry knew, the belt suddenly turned on and little Vashti was thrown between an area where two belts abutted -- despite her efforts to try and rescue her baby, she was crushed to death.

More from The Stir: Baby Who Died in Airport Conveyor Belt Tragedy Couldn't Have Been Saved

I'm torn over this mom's lawsuit and whether I think she has a strong argument. On the one hand, though many of us wouldn't take a chance like this with our babies, if there was no signage near the belt that warns people of how dangerous and fast-moving the conveyor is, I suppose she could argue that she didn't realize it would be unsafe.

Terry claims the conveyor belt had a sensor that activated it as soon as it detected an object had been placed on top of it. Again, if this is the case, I can't imagine why a sign wouldn't have been placed near the belt warning travelers about this.

A better argument here might be: why wasn't a warning provided prior to when the belt began moving? I can't remember a time I didn't hear a sound -- almost like a shrill alarm -- go off right before the belt started moving and pushing luggage out. But if this is done as a courtesy in certain airports, but isn't a requirement, then -- again -- I'm not sure Terry's attorneys can successfully win with this point.

Vanderlande says it will not comment on pending litigation, but Spanish authorities said last year in a statement that the luggage carousel complied with safety standards and that the baby's death was due to parental neglect.

Such a sad story and, of course, nothing will bring Vashti back or heal this mom's grieving heart.

Do you think this mom has a strong case against the luggage carousel company?


Image via hobvias sudoneighm/Flickr

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